Manufacturing by the numbers

October 10, 2013
By: Dan Davis

If you didn’t know the significance of Oct. 4 this year, your company missed out on an exciting day. More than 800 organizations welcomed the public into their manufacturing facilities to show the world what modern manufacturing is like, all in hopes of dispelling the dank and dark images of manufacturing days of old.

If you have your doubts as well, just consider these numbers:

  • 11 million. This is the number of people who were employed in the manufacturing industry in the U.S. in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means that manufacturing was the fourth-largest employer in the U.S. at the time, trailing health care and social assistance, retail, and accommodation and food services.

  • 26. The U.S. Census Bureau reports this is the number of states where manufacturing was one of the top three employers as of 2013.

  • $38.27. That is the total hourly compensation, which includes employer-provided benefits, for workers in manufacturing jobs, as determined by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic and Statistics Administration. This is more than $5 per hour more than workers earn in nonmanufacturing jobs.

  • $43,850. That’s the annual mean wage for workers in the stamping industry (NAICS code 332100) as of May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012. Machine tool operators had an annual mean wage of $33,370 and tool- and diemakers $49,830.

  • $5.5 trillion. The 2011 Survey of Manufacturers by the U.S. Census Bureau revealed this amount to be the total value of goods shipped from U.S. manufacturers.
    31 percent. When subscribers to The FABRICATOR, STAMPING Journal’s sister magazine, were asked this year, “How many years have you worked in the metal fabrication business?” almost a third indicated 31 years or more. Everyone knows that the baby boomers are approaching retirement age and threaten to take tons of metal fabricating and forming experience with them, but are companies taking the steps necessary to replace the ranks of these talented but aging workers?

  • 17. That’s where the U.S. population ranked among 19 countries in terms of “problem solving in technology-rich environments,” according to a new study, conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The study tested approximately 166,000 people, ranging in age from 16 to 65, and found that the U.S. placed 21st out of 23 countries in “numeracy,” the ability to work with basic numeral concepts. This is just the latest survey suggesting that the U.S. isn’t doing a great job of getting its young people ready to tackle the advanced manufacturing jobs that will need to be filled in the future.

These numbers are why Manufacturing Day is so important. Manufacturing, as a whole, is economically critical to the vitality of a nation, and steps need to be taken to ensure its strength in the future, even as it may employ fewer people than in generations past. Opening up your doors to offer a glimpse of today’s modern metal manufacturing environment is just the first step, but it’s a very important step. Sometimes seeing is believing for many, and the only way young people will be able to see is if an invitation is extended to look behind the curtain.
Dan Davis

Dan Davis

FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123
Phone: 815-227-8281